Cleveland will increase snowplow fleet, add on-line tracker to clear streets faster

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Here are some of the stories a head on this week's Reporters Roundtable.

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb says the city will add vehicles to its snow removal fleet and put a snowplow tracker online that is continuously updated.

The changes come after the city struggled to clear streets after receiving more than a foot of snow during a storm over the Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend. The snow essentially shut down the city. 

Bibb has been in office less than a month and described the current system as “broken.”

The mayor says one flaw in the current snow removal system is that it does not incorporate the intensity of a storm.  The heavy snow that fell over the MLK Jr. holiday came down in a short period of time.

Voting rights groups have filed legal objections to the newly drawn state legislative district maps.  The Ohio Supreme Court in a 4-3 ruling on January 12 struck down the first maps approved by the Ohio Redistricting Commission saying the maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered. Those maps would have delivered a majority to Republicans in each chamber of the General Assembly.  The Ohio Supreme Court then gave the commission 10 days to draw new maps—with guidance from the high court.  But voting groups say the maps still clearly favor Republicans.   Commission members, disagree, saying the maps are as proportional as possible under the rules they must follow.

The director of the Ohio Department of Health says the omicron surge continues to recede in the state but not at a similar rate for everyone.  Doctor Bruce Vanderhoff says there is “light at the end of the tunnel” but we are not there just yet.  Northern Ohio has seen the biggest reduction in hospital numbers but the reduction has been more modest in central Ohio.  The southern part of the state, has not had a reduction in hospitalizations from this surge.    

Ohio’s largest public corruption trial will be heard this year, but probably not until the fall. The federal bribery investigation into the passage of House Bill 6—known as the “nuclear bailout” bill led to the arrest and indictment of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder and lobbyist Matt Borges.  Both have maintained they did nothing wrong. Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys are conferring to come up with a date for the trial which is expected to take six weeks.

Ohio did not fare well in the latest State Equality Index.  The index is a report that looks at advocacy efforts within states as well as the laws and policies that impact the LGBTQ+ community. The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute put together the rankings.  Ohio fell into the lowest category along with 21 other states for its lack of progress in pursuing basic equality measures.

Dayton-area native Amy Schneider will go into the record books just behind Ken Jennings for her terrific run on Jeopardy, which Jennings watched up close as the host. Schneider's loss Wednesday night ended her streak at 40 wins when she was bested by Rhone Talsma, a librarian from Chicago. She surpassed fellow Ohio native Matt Amodio--who ended his own 38-game winning streak last October.  



Anna Huntsman, Health Reporter, Ideastream Public Media
Ken Schneck, Editor, Buckeye Flame
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Burea Chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV

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